Condobolin Retirement Village lease in jeopardy

Commercial in-confidence material used as a political point scoring exercise.


By Melissa Blewitt

Negotiations between Whiddon Homes and Lachlan Shire Council for the extension of a two-year lease are in jeopardy, following an article published in a local newspaper.

It was resolved at an Extra Ordinary meeting on 23 March, during a confidential closed session, that Council grant a two-year extension of the current agreement with Whiddon Homes, and that the Mayor and General Manager be delegated authority to sign the extension agreement.

Councillors Ridley, Frankel, Medcalf, Manwaring and Nelson voted for the resolution and Councillors Phillips, Scott, Brady and Saunders against.

An article printed on the front page of The Lachlander, last Friday, contained commercial in confidence material that unfortunately has “been used as an apparent political point scoring exercise,” according to LSC Mayor John Medcalf.

“I am very concerned with the unnecessary angst that the article has placed on residents, their families and staff at the Condobolin Retirement Village and on our negotiations with Whiddon Homes for a two-year Management Agreement extension,” he said.

“I want to assure staff, residents and their families of Council’s commitment to continuing the provision of this service. Council has great confidence in Whiddon Homes and the good service they are providing the community.

“It is unfortunate that this story involving our aged, frail and most vulnerable members within our community, has been used as an apparent political point scoring exercise by Councillors Scott, Brady, Saunders and Phillips.

“This is not the way Council does business. We are still in negotiations with Whiddon and I hope that this hasn’t harmed the good relationship between Council and Whiddon Homes.”

On the same day, another article was published, in relation to Council providing space for Rural and Remote Medical Services (RaRMS) to open a medical practice.

At the Extraordinary Meeting on 23 March during a confidential closed session, it was resolved that Council agree to lease rooms within the Condobolin District Retirement Village to RaRMS for a two year period.

Any modifications to the rooms would be undertaken at the expense of RaRMS, and would be subject to Council approval. A market rental would also be charged as determined by an independent qualified valuer.

Again Councillors Ridley, Frankel, Medcalf, Manwaring and Nelson voted for the resolution and Councillors Phillips, Scott, Brady and Saunders against.

“I am also concerned with this article published regarding negotiations for a lease of three rooms in the Retirement Village for a new medical centre to be operated by RaRMS, when these negotiations were still not complete and were confidential,” Mr Medcalf said.

“This medical centre would be an additional service to Ochre Health which operates out of the Council owned Melrose Street Medical Centre.

“Council is very appreciative and pleased with the services provided by Ochre Health and had nothing to do with it losing a tender to RaRMS for the provision of Visiting Medical Officers to the hospital. NSW Health is responsible for awarding VMO rights not Council.”

“I fail to see why anyone would not want additional General Practitioners in Condobolin and especially at the Retirement Village where residents have the greatest need for quick access to medical professionals.”

“Council have acted fairly to both medical organisations and only want the best and optimum medical services for the community.

“I sincerely hope that the article has not harmed our negotiations with RaRMS.”

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